delighted to announce that after extensive pressure from local fans The Forum
has been persuaded to join in the huge jamboree of fun that is Spafest - the
celebration of 400 years of the founding of Tunbridge Wells. To celebrate
the highly inexact date when the town may or may not have been formed when
some old bint gave some bloke from the aristocracy a cup of slightly smelly
water she had just pulled out of a hole in the ground and charged him £5
for it, the Forum will be staging a very special, once in a lifetime, event.
Much like the town council, we have decided to celebrate this semi-historic, completely arbitrarily made up anniversary by staging a feast of traditional groups and bands that really speak about the indigenous culture of the town. Unlike the town council, however, we did a bit of research for all of two minutes and worked out that a solid line up of has been and never was bands that have never played the town before, performing for massively inappropriate fees supported by tax payers money, all presented on triple thick full colour paper to gloss over the fact that it is tremendous waste of money, isn't actually associated with the founding of Tunbridge Wells at all. Ah no. We have decided to present something that sticks true to the spirit of our great town, something traditional that has been with us ever since the town first sprang into being with that attempted water poisoning. So, for one night only, we have managed to locate some ORIGINAL local musicians, who have actually been with us ever since that wizened old hag first stumbled across some muddy brackened water and thought "ooo, there's a few quid in this". They were there when that horse rode by - strumming tunelessly on their lutes in E. They have seen all the great events in the life of the town, and have set most of them to fractious atonal music with some shouting over the top. They were there for the fall of High Brooms working men's club in the mod battles of the sixties. There, when people in Hawkenbury discovered inside toilets and electricity (a week last Wednesday)
. They have been with us like smelly house guests since the dawn of civilisation.
Yes, for one night only, Ladies and Gentlemen, the original, the one and only
Joeyfat. "We are delighted SNARK GOOBLE SNANGE to be asked by The Forum
MY DOG BIT THE POSTMAN to represent everything that has made Tunbridge Wells
the town it is today YOU! YOU! YOU! I HAVE SEEN INSIDE YOUR KIPPER BOX"
announced vertically challenged frontman M. Edward Cole from the safety of
his heavily padded cell yesterday morning. "In keeping with the spirit
of the event BICYCLES ARE NOT SHEEP, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? I shall be performing
in the traditional costume of your average Tunbridge Wells citizen A SHIRT
AND TIE A SHIRT AND TIE IT'S NOT GEOGRAPHY and my backing band, I forget their
names exactly, but they are always making a noise behind me LOOK OUT! THE
GROUND!, will be trying to re-enact the sound problems that might have been
experienced by musicians in the year 1606. NEVILLE PUT THE BOOT IN. Unfortunately
this may mean that they perform slightly out of time and out of key with each
other WIBBIT!, but I am assured that the ordinary punter won't notice the
difference. HOIST THE MAINSAIL AND SET THE COMPASS FOR BASINGSTOKE".
Ian "Morethanmyjobsworth,notwithoutafullDNAtest" Carvell also announced that in keeping with the spirit of the occasion, the bar will be selling slightly rancid beverages. "Not much change there, you might think " he stated "but we are going to call it Wells Beer and double the price".
In other news, TWBC also announced that they still don't have enough money to put some decent lighting on the common. "We've spunked it all away on Craig "One Time" David, you see" said their spokesman, Mr Madeupname.
Blam is owned and produced by The Forum. We are poor starving musicians and artists who don't even have a garret so there is very little point in coming after us for money just because we accused you of being a donkey basher, but if you are really intent on litigation, then you sue us via
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN4
But nine times out of ten I wouldn't bother because our lawyers, Shyster, Rippemhoff & Felch are the fastest legal minds in Cricklewood. Some of you may be thinking that we haven't got into the spirit of the 400th anniversary of Tunbridge Wells. This might not be unrelated to the fact that 1) there's no such thing 2) for the amount of money being wasted putting on a bunch of washed up shite we could have got Oasis to play the fucking show 3) every year we pay a massive fucking rates bill to that inept bunch of wankers at TWBC who then do fuck all for us but manage to spunk thousands away on a meaningless fucking celebration of nothing once every five years 4) this is the same council who refused to put hot water into the premises for ten years because the budget wasn't available. Under the circumstances, I think we all know where Craig David can stick himself.
Tunbridge Wells' original AND best value for money comedy club is held the first Thursday of every month.
FOUR TOP CLASS ACTS, THE FIRST THURSDAY IN EVERY MONTH, ONLY FIVE POUNDS,
NEW LUXURIOUS TOILET FACILITIES.
For the past 5 years, on the first Thursday of every month, the Forum has played host tofour top acts from the stand-up comedy circuit. Acts that have gone on to become staples of Channel 4 (and Ceebeebies!) include; JIMMY CARR, ROB ROUSE, NINA CONTI, ELECTRIC (Big Cook, Little Cook) FORECAST and MARCUS BRIGSTOCKE. Here's your chance to see the stars of comedy before they start presenting rubbish 'Top 100 Drain Hole Covers in Southborough' stylee programmes.
BEN NORRIS is one of the most sought after comics on the
circuit and has developed a reputation for his ability to work an audience
and think fast on his feet. Ben presented MTV's "Hot" for a successful
run, has performed sets for "The Stand Up Show" (BBC) and guested
on "They Think It's All Over" (TalkBack Prods for BBC1) and "Nevermind
the Buzzcocks" (TalkBack Prods for BBC2).
He was a writer and warm-up for Paul Kaye's "Liar" (Talkback Prods), as well as "Your Face or Mine" (Talkback Prods for BBC Choice).
"Lina is a musical comic with a brilliant line in bawdy songs... storming set!" - Evening Standard
"I have no doubt she will hold her own so easily that she'll have a hand free to hold someone else's too." - The Guardian
"There's no denying that the girl's got talent." - Chortle, the UK Comedy Guide
Winner of the EMMA Best Comedian Award 2003, Ria Lina is still a fairly new
face on the circuit. But she has already made an impact with her dry wit and
her ukulele. Intermingling observations with surprisingly refreshing songs
she covers topics rarely discussed on the circuit such as mail-order brides,
small breasts, and ping-pong balls.
Ria Lina trained as an actress, singer and dancer before deciding to try her hand at stand-up comedy. She still has an avid interest in acting, the British screening of her latest short film, Dirt, occurring October of last year.
Ria has been a regular on the stand-up comedy circuit for the past 2 years, having in that time headlined at Kingston University and performed at such venues as Jongleurs, the Comedy Café, and the Comedy Store. She also participated in a benefit for Breakthrough Breastcancer at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane alongside the likes of Jo Brand, Bill Bailey, and Al Murray.
She just finished filming a documentary for Channel 4 that uncovers the myth surrounding oriental women in today's society, giving her the unique opportunity to explore the use of humour in polemic television, it was aired in May, 2003.
Ria will be attending the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year as part of the Big Value Late Show; venue: Cafe Royal.
SEND MORE PARAMEDICS are back from the dead (The Leeds M62 Travelodge actually)
, poised to spread the zombie plague to every corner of the earth. There is
no escape - these thrash-crazy ghouls are coming for your BRRAAAAAIIIINNSSS!!!!
Blimey everyone ......... run ...................
Members of the living dead, cannibalistic zombies consumed with an unholy desire to devour living human brains SMP's music can best be described as "Zombiecore" - a hideous fusion of 80s-style thrash metal and modern hardcore punk, contaminated and deformed by an obsessive fascination with zombie b-movies. SEND MORE PARAMEDICS are known for their visceral live performances. They fuse together a dark and brutal thrash attack with the all important ingredient - good times and all out fun. SMP play to hordes of mortals on both the underground music scene and on arena circuit tours.
Send More Paramedics like zombies and gore, so much so that onstage the Leeds
quartet dress to depress, faces bleached and mouths bloody. They twitch and
jerk, flail limbs left 'n' right, and talk much of brain-munching and midnight
snacking on the young and the hopeless. Mohawked front'man' B'Hellmouth -
probably not the name on his library card - keeps proceedings flowing like
so many severed veins with gargled quips through gritted teeth. Underneath
all the decaying flesh and dead centre of the rotten grey matter, one suspects
that this guy is, y'know, alright. 'Til he bites your ear off.
The 'Medics' live show is mouth-agape entertainment of the highest quality. Their kinetic punk-rocked-up metal - old school to the point of being deceased - mightn't hold a torch to Testament or Slayer, but their ferocity is absolute and wouldn't be diminished if they shed their now customary attire (kids come dressed as their favourite member). Plus, when a 'guy' with fiery eyes and an I'll-chew-your-face-off smile smirks his way through the introduction to a song called 'Zombie Versus Shark' you know you're onto a devilish delicious winner.
....anybody who thinks we need to add anything to that is, quite frankly, an idiot.
Seafood have had more than their fair share of problems in the past two years,
with their last album "As The Crow Flies", and their subsequent
tour schedule, blighted by frontman David collapsed lung.
When it collapsed for the seventh time during a German concert, he ended up spending a week in a Frankfurt hospital.
But that is in the past, as the band unveiled their latest album "Paper Crown King" this week, led by the single "Signal Sparks".
Out September 4th, their fifth album marks the band's ten-year anniversary,
and coinciding with the single release, on July 31
Seafood are a difficult band to get your head round. They've been floating around on the scene for years and yet they never seem to go anywhere. Where bands like Cable disappeared off the planet and others like Snow Patrol have rocketed to ridiculous levels, Seafood have just been hanging around on the outskirts, kicking their scruffy Converse-d heels. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. There is something endearing about a band who continue to keep their head above water (just) despite all odds.
The past two years can't have been easy. In 2003 Seafood became label-less as Mushroom was taken over by Warner Brothers and the band's difficult, obscure sound dropped from the roster: This in conjunction with singer David's recent health problems has not really helped. Like their contemporaries Idlewild, Seafood started their career playing angular yet saccharine post-whatever, and over the last two albums they've become confident enough to drop the distortion and reveal mature and original song-writing.
…"the gimp of absurdist commercial terror!" A dangerous mix of child party clown terror and splendid metal tomfoolery! Witness Benny's big brass horn, Hunter.S.Stockwells living drumkit, Rev.Kane's gown of a thousand secrets and the Mol's tux/sandal combo of terror.
"They're bleedin' bonkers and no mistake, and not a little scary - have them babysit for your little brother!!!
"Zipperface was more than a gig, it was a surreal show of costumes, props, psychedelic imagery and bloody good music" Phil Greenwood (Bands Unsigned)
"creating an atmosphere rivalling the excitement of a childs first trip to the circus! Though...On second thought... Bringing your children to a Zipperface gig probably isn't the BEST idea...GO AND SEE THIS BAND!" - Myspace critic
"Kylie meets Zappa" Graham
The Chap . Horsebox . Laura Marling .
Formed early last year from the remnants of The Fingerprints, this four piece of guitar, bass, synth and drums have very quickly developed into a tight unit with a definintive sound. Citing influences like Kraftwerk, Talking Heads, Blur and Pulp, these boys are aiming high and they may well get there judging by their demos. Catchy hooks, matched with neat vocal harmonies from Max Cooke (guitar) and Chris Porter (bass), complemented by some classic 80's synth sounds. Its polished and smart, its snappy pop and crackle sticks in your head.
Having supported Art Brut and The Magic Numbers last year, releasing their
own EP 'Valves and Robots and following it up with a national tour, they are
now backing up the hard work with work on a full length album. For the festival
season they're playing Wireless, Truck, Reading and Leeds festivals amid a
numerous venues around the country.
Gaining a reputation as having songs more contagious than herpes in an Essex health club Jacuzzi, GoodBooks are ridiculously impressive and NME's recent proclamations of best new band in Britain are proving quite accurate.
Piney Gir's Country Roadshow
Chris TT, singer/songwriter, carries a unique perspective, the originality
of his songs are laced with wit, humour, charm and sarcasm. Playing solo or
with a full band as the mood takes him, his songs are honest and personal,
a tender vocal bears his vulnerability, there's also an undeniable conviction
in his voice and knowledge of who and where he is.
Not a man to keep his opinions to himself, when he voices them, it most often results in someone being offended, outraged or otherwise aghast. His carefully crafted songs about suicide bombers, serial killers, sellotape and sex often get members of his audience riled, and though there have been a few frightening threats, he's never yet been punched.
As The Guardian says, "The genius of Chris T-T's songwriting is his ability to humanise even the most outlandish conceits. They seem instead like brilliant ideas that no-one else could've come up with."
T-T's gift is to tackle life's grand themes, such as war, money, love, sex, and death, and transform them into highly personal, and highly emotional, songs. For a songwriter of such remarkable insight, his upbringing was unremarkably average. He listened to songs like The Floral Dance and Up Up and Away In My Beautiful Balloon on his grandmother's record player. His parents paid for piano lessons and nagged him to practice. He went to a good school, in a good neighbourhood with other good kids.
"The joy of Flaming Lips and the humanity of Ray Davies. " - TIME OUT
"T-T has a knack for making the mundane seem joyous. A combination of Badly Drawn Boy's ramshackle charm and the observational wit of Jarvis Cocker." - Q
Another year, another Stable has come to a close. Each year has it's highs
and lows - the lows normally consisting for us of trying to work out where
one song ends and another one starts on some of our more "ability challenged"
entrants. This is more than outweighed each year by the discovery of a few
hidden gems, and also getting to see bands starting to pull themselves together
and think about themselves as a unit a bit more in the later stages of the
competition. It's also really nice when you make an off hand comment and then
see the band take it to heart the next time they appear - and that can run
from a simple "well, the tuning was a bit off" through to "I
love that song, but it takes ages to get going". We have had our fair
share of all of those highs and lows this year, so as the competition draws
to a close it only remains to announce the finalists, and to say a big thank
you to all those that have taken part.
So……….without further ado:
The Man's Choice Final - 15 July
Featuring the top 6 bands as chosen by a panel of industry ne'er-do-wells, including people from the major record labels, the odd radio station or two, and agents and managers involved in developing the alternative music scene. All the bands that took part this year had recordings of their shows put in front of this panel, gaining useful exposure to the industry. The panel has now spoken, so it's champagne corks a popping for their top 6 bands of the year who, in absolutely no order whatsoever (unless you own a big book of the alphabet) are:
Seven Story Down
Spring Tide Calvary
Huge congratulations to those six, and special mentions go out to three other bands who just missed the cut but garnered a great deal of praise from the panel: New Homes, Pictures of Shanghai and Co-Star. The final winner of the Man's Choice event will be announced on the night of the 15 July, with the winners walking off with some recording time and CD pressings. Everybody attending the show will receive a FREE 18 track CD featuring a live recording by the best bands as voted for by the Man's Choice panel.
The Fan's Choice Final - 22 July
Featuring the top 6 bands as voted for by you the paying punters who attended the Monday night events throughout the last year. As in previous years, this has thrown up a completely different result. Some people say this makes the whole thing very complicated, but actually we think it means that all the bands get more exposure; as well as receiving the CDs featuring the top 18 bands in the Man's Choice event, the industry panel also gets to hear the 18 tracks by the most popular local bands voted for by you, meaning that the six bands in this final also get the chance of some great exposure to the industry - so everyone's a winner. This year's top 6 as voted for by you:
Contra Las Aras
Eleven Days Ago
Fall to Fiction
Zoe from London
The Fan's Choice final is a bit more of a nail biter for those involved,
as the winner will be decided by audience vote on the night of the show. As
well as a chance to decide who will be the final winner of the Fan's Choice,
everybody attending the event will receive a FREE CD featuring the top 18
bands as voted for by the local punters during the last year.
So, two great events, two eventual winners, two free CDs, and all you need top do is show your face and see what is really going on locally.
| They're a peculiar lot, tribute bands. You may not realise,
but they work in a very insular market, full of petty jealousies, spite
and backbiting. OK, so the regular circuit ain't exactly genial, but there's
at least room to exist without treading on someone else's toes. Whereas
other bands are artists, tribute bands are forgers and use their talents
not to create their own beautiful things, but for mimicry and fakery.
Some copies will be better than others depending on the skill of those
involved, but as the ultimate aim with most tribute bands is to flawlessly
clone rather that create, the most any such band can hope for is to produce
excellent reproductions rather than works of art. As such, the bands fight
like dogs over scraps for the attention of that small sector of the public
who pay to witness things that are part homage and part parody, desperate
to convince this blinkered world of crusties and anoraks that only their
band offers the truest, most authentic facsimile they could wish for.
It's a bit sad really, as it could be argued that unless the intention
is to create a perverse caricature (Hayseed Dixie, Dread Zeppelin, etc),
tribute bands are the only musical venture where individuality and creativity
can hinder rather than enhance matters. See? I told you they were peculiar.
The thing about Led Zep Too is that in a world where some of their fellow tribute acts have been doing it for longer than Zeppelin did themselves, they've achieved in a very short time an imitation that's so faithful, so accurate and so passionate, that they make the likes of Led By Zeppelin and Whole Lotta Led seem redundant and trampled underfoot. Sure, at least half of the Zep tributes out there also aim to recreate the live arrangements instead of the studio tracks, but a more musically authentic, intense, and insanely loud version you'll not find anywhere. Why? Because Led Zep Too have captured the very essence of Led Zeppelin, adding an absolutely identifiable magic to the mix, and that's not learnable; it either exists or it doesn't. Have those other pretenders had paranoid officials remove their Myspace tracks no less than 5 times because they think they really are Zeppelin live recordings? Didn't think so, and accordingly, Led Zep Too couldn't wish for a better accolade.
Literally, you close your eyes, listen, and the differences between them are so negligible as to not exist. The drum intro to "Rock and Roll" gives way to that bassy Les Paul-through-a-Marshall grunting riff courtesy of Mike Jarvis (oh alright then - Jimmy) and for more than just a moment, it's the 70's again. He might be crammed between that massive drumkit and the monitors with barely enough room to squeeze his lemon, but you can really believe that it's a young Robert Plant up there, screaming like a man with his testicles nailed to the floor, because Ollie doesn't just sound identical with that semi-orgasmic wail, he's got the shaggy blond curls, the tight denim, the obscenely large frontal bulge and the camp gesticulations absolutely perfect, right down to that peculiar way that ol' Percy could never properly thrust his hips in time to the music, like an unruly sex beast who doesn't quite know what to do with himself when he's not shagging. Occasionally, (such as during the high notes of "Immigrant Song" ) his voice wavers slightly wimpishly, usually when attempting one of those 'just-about-to-cum' yelps which instead of a horny wolf sounds more like a squashed kitten, but sod it, I've seen Plant himself try to do that in recent years and believe me he's fucking rubbish. There are enough reasons for criticising Ollie and his voice isn't one of them.
Y'see, half of the fun of seeing a tribute act is letting your imagination take hold. Go watch Limehouse Lizzy or Bjorn Again for example and you can almost believe that they're the real bands because they remain in character throughout, which is something that Led Zep Too have yet to master.
Although we know that Led Zeppelin haven't reformed to play local arts
venues, it's vaguely annoying and bloody unnecessary to have the fantasy
spoilt by repeatedly pointing out that fact, particularly if Ollie's not
only going to reveal the length of the tunes, but babble things like "This
is from Led Zeppelin's 4th album from 1971,the one without any title,
and although the intro to the live version of this song is different to
the version they recorded, we do it this way…blah, blah blah…"
just before a corking "Black Dog" which as well as being dull,
is not particularly authentic. It's like having movie characters turn
to the camera and say "you do know that we're acting, don't you?",
or recreating a work of art and writing 'fake' on the front, so it's bizarre
that they can make so much effort at authenticity then forget that Zep
would shut the fuck up and get on with it, letting the songs speak for
themselves and limiting dialogue to a brief 'Thank you' or perhaps a 'This
is called…' at the most.
But minor gripes aside, by the time we hit "Heartbreaker", the raw emotive power produced by this band is almost otherworldly. Heavier than a juggernaut up the jacksie and utterly self-indulgent, Mike Jarvis expertly recreates Page's wilder excesses in a squealing headbanging flurry of feedback, sweat and dandruff as they jam and explore it with wild abandon, letting it whirl and glide into rhythmic crashing chaos that threatens to punch fucking great big holes in your eardrums, before a surprisingly gentle "Thank You" soothes them again.
An epic 20 minute "Dazed & Confused" (we know it's 20 minutes because Ollie says so) precedes an additionally extended "No Quarter" (written by Jonesy, so Ollie reliably informs us, when he was left alone in a studio for too long with a keyboard. Yawn.) but Ollie really takes the cake with "Moby Dick" by elatedly pointing out it's 15 minute drum solo. Despite Glen's undeniable skill, only the most crashing bore enjoys drum solos and although Bonham's could last anything from several minutes to several weeks depending on the drugs, there's a difference between the, er, 'excitement' (if that's the word) of an elaborate solo, and looking at your watch realising that he's still not even halfway through it. I mean, we may well know that something's long but to warn us in advance is a deflating invitation to take a breather, as when the solo starts, you could get a takeaway, skin up outside and read the paper in the knowledge that you'll still be back in your seat before he's bashed that big gong. Of course, the real Bonzo was too wasted to realise that the enormous roar throughout the stadium when his solo finished was actually thousands of people going "He's finished! Thank fuck!" at the same time, but that was the 70's for you.
'Jimmy' straps on his twin-necked SG for the obligatory "Stairway To Heaven" followed by a searing "Kashmir", but peculiarly, it's the surprising inclusion of "Achilles Last Stand" (which at over 10 minutes, as Ollie helpfully reminds us is the second longest Zep studio track after "In My Time Of Dying") that gets the most enthusiastic response from the small but appreciative crowd before the wild blues abandonment of "Whole Lotta Love", which they don't so much play as wrestle; flailing the tune like a whip, letting it swell into a throbbing cacophony of theramin squeals, bloodied drums, tortured guitar and best-shag-of-your-life screams.
If only Ollie would shut the fuck up and just sing they'd be pretty much perfect, but hey, give 'em time. They're still the best Zep tribute by a mile.
Our eager, hyperactive, willing to please, forelock-tugging, cap-doffing, can-do, nothing's-too-much trouble, highly trained, elite, ex-SAS and Girl Guides, crack squad of volunteers are waiting like coiled springs, with Sanatogen coursing through their veins, bouncing off the walls for you, and only you !
We always like to hear from new contributors, new bands, new
people, people who hate swearing, big ones, small ones, some as big as your
head.Because believe you me, it's a right hard slog making up all the lies,
half-truths and general bollox that we lovingly/laughingly call BLAM. So If
you've recently been moved to tears by the sight of a '74 Rickenbacker 4001,
plugged through a Big Muff, whilst being lovingly caressed by a young gunslinger
who knows his middle eights from a 'truckers gear shift' then please get in
touch. Preferably with a local drugs helpline, in the meantime do not operate
any heavy machinery.
You can write to us at
The Forum, Fonthill, The Common,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 8YU
Or call the Information line on 08712 777101
We also have a website where you can find out all about what's on, and laugh
at the photos of the damp mattressed fainthearts that 'work' here. That's
You can also email us, so do that to:
On the website you can book tickets, find out what's coming up, get a map, get a life, identify which ne'er-do-wells have trodden the boards at the ol' shitter, check out our interactive gaming section, or go on our messageboard and start arguing whether we include too many Appalachian Nose-Flute nights in our gig programming. In fact, we beseech, nay implore you to do any of the above which would make a change from downloading hardcore 'chicks with dicks' jpgs as you'd normally do.
Please note that as well as being able to reserve tickets for all Forum shows online, tickets are also available to be purchased from the following retail outlets:
The Longplayer, 3 Grosvenor Road, Tunbridge Wells 01892 539273
Criminal Records, 6 Goods Station Road, Tunbridge Wells 01892 511776
COMEDY FORUM - Thu 3rd Aug
4TH WALL - Saturday 5th Aug
PICTURES OF SHANGHAI - Sunday 6th Aug
HAEMOSTATIC PICNIC RACES - Saturday 12th Aug
LETHAL FIXX - Thursday 17th Aug
DEFCON - Friday 18th Aug
UNSCREEN INDIE CINEMA - Sunday 20th Aug
STABLE 6 - First Show - Monday 21st Aug
Lifted (with permission) from the July edition of BLAM! - All queries regarding libel actions should be directed to them